A hardworking farmer, toiling solo until his well runs dry, is aided by helpful friends and timely rain.
“Paul mows…rakes…digs…[and] draws water” in successive spreads, one per action. After his well fails, the searing sun dominates a double spread, dwarfing Paul’s farmhouse and blackened crops. “But Paul is not alone”—a silhouetted cow, donkey, mole, and bird (all seen in earlier spreads) parade forth, bearing water and implements—“and his friend the rain is never truly far away.” A page turn reveals Paul’s lush, lovely crops—the result of his close observation, intense labor, and a hefty dose of good luck. Abadio’s naïve compositions convey a winsome bemusement that never mocks Paul, a white man who is matter-of-factly portrayed with a large, beaky red nose, tall black hat, and ballooning red overalls. Paul is absent or visually minuscule in some spreads—a nod to the central role that the land plays in the lives of farmers. Gentle humor is visual, as when a succession of Pauls peer from a series of mole holes. Compositions, all done on yellow paper, are striking: Mirroring the spread with the enormous sun is an equally mammoth moon that silhouettes Paul’s tiny house; in another, Paul stands level with the bottom of the dry well looking up, the bucket resting in futility at the bottom of the aquifer.
Charmingly unassuming, rather like Paul himself. (Picture book. 3-6)